Foods from Riviera


2019 Sep 21
High ceilings and marble furnishing, deriving from a past life as a financial institution in a different era, give Riviera an air of grandeur and classical posh-ness while its more retro, fun additions rejuvenates the space. This exceptionally-executed juxtaposition of classical and contemporary plays out, not only in the ambiance, but also in the dishes that are served there.

The food Riviera serves up feel like elevated versions of beloved brasserie classics, such as mushrooms on toast, seafood chowder, and steak frites. Their menu is a little on the pricey side (around $20 for the mushrooms on toast or the seafood chowder and $50 for the steak frites) but well worth the price, in my opinion. I ordered the "Mushrooms on Toast w Shaved Black Truffle & An Egg" for dinner and it was divine; I nearly licked the plate clean. I had a bite of my colleague's "Striploin Steak Frites w Bordelaise Sauce" and it was executed very well, although the portion size would have been a bit much for me. Not that I'm complaining - that is definitely $50 worth of steak.

Service was friendly and professional too, coming by occasionally to check up on us and make sure we had everything we needed. The ambiance, like I'd mentioned previously, is a mix of classical and contemporary, making it an ideal place for either a casual or fancy occasion. Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend Riviera and am excited to go again and bring others with me.

2016 Nov 22
The tuna starter was only okay.. tasty enough but not that memorable.

I did have a pasta and it was very tasty but the poration are not what you call large. That was while I was with the group so did not take a photo of it nor the other Ling cod dish and the spotted prawn chowder..

2016 Nov 22
The cozy bar. When we were a group and at the tables, acoustics were pretty loud so they might benefit for some sound absorbing material.

2016 Nov 22
The bone marrow was very tasty and you are suppose to do a bourbon shot with it through the cavity of the bone but I was driving..

2016 Nov 22
Ling cod cheeks with Morel. Yummm

2016 Nov 22
I had organized an alumni dinner for 16 people (dropped from the RSVP for 20) back in Sept and I checked it out twice beforehand.

Stephan Flood head up the bar and when I was alone, I really liked the bar since you can see a lot of the happenings.

It has been a while and I cannot remember the cocktail but it was made with Dillon Gin I think and very tasty.

2016 Nov 22
Dropped in to one of Ottawa's newest celebrated restaurants for lunch with my wife last Thursday. Riviera is a space that is truly awesome to behold. Looking around at lunchtime, it was clear that this is where Ottawa's shakers and movers bring their clients and compatriots. I'm willing to bet that there is no indoor restaurant with higher ceilings.

The cocktail list is worthy of note. The true classics are present in great numbers, plus a few more creative concoctions. It's clear that someone here is a cocktail geek. Huge thumbs up for that. (Take a look! www.dineriviera.com)

My Black Wings cocktail ($14, Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila / Mezcal / Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters / house-made Scorched Earth Bitters) kicked off the meal well with a tequila buzz and some chili heat. Later on, I asked for a glass of their Riviera "Red Fife" ale ($8). I'm a fan of red beers but this one is over the top for my taste. There's a lot of bitterness and even more sweetness.

A slice of delightfully tender egg washed bread arrived with luscious butter. The bread tasted like a cross between Challah and Zopf, with emphasis on the latter. So nice to get bread service with lunch!

On to the mains. My wife had the Lobster Pasta ($30). One never gets much lobster in these dishes but this one even skimped on the (wonderful) pasta. I tasted a little and there was a prominent liquorice fennel flavour that overwhelmed any chance to savour the lobster. This is more of a snack than a lunch.

My Hanger Steak Frites ($26) was a heartier affair. The fries were superb, as were the aļoli and the little shards of fried sage. Dipping the fries into the aļoli made me very happy. The hanger steak was perfectly medium-rare as requested but even with the accompanying sauce the flavour of the meat couldn't compete with the side.

My wife made it clear that she wouldn't share a dessert after her meal left her hungry, so we each ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart ($10). This chocolatey, peanutty, caramelly slice was awesome, check out the pic! The dollop on top isn't ice cream but a fluffy peanut butter mousse.

After dessert we were both full. The bill for lunch was definitely in the "nice dinner" realm. If only I were a high flyer with deep pockets I'd likely be planning my next visit. Alas.

Come first for the swanky atmosphere, second for the commendable cocktail list, and lastly for the respectable food.

2016 Aug 13
I was lucky enough to try this new Matthew Carmichael restaurant about a week ago which opened on Sparks St. They have beautifully renovated an old CICB building. It is a rectangular room with at least 25ft ceilings and a stainless steel bar that runs the length of one side. You can tell a lot of thought and attention was put into the renovation.

I really wanted to love this place, but would have to say that although the food is solid it did not wow me as I had expected.

The menu is broken out into about 10 appetizers (in the $15+ range), 3 pasta dishes (mid $20s to low $30s) and 5 options for mains (high $20s to $30s).

We shared:
- the heirloom tomato salad which had the tomatoes around the perimeter of the plate and a large ball of burrata in the middle, the whole thing was covered in a fantastic olive oil - this was my favorite dish, I wished I had had more bread to soak up all the oil
- a bowl of mashed potatoes with truffles shaved on top and a light gravy - although tasty, this was the strangest dish
- lobster pappardelle with two large pieces of lobster this was substantial but it had a sweet taste to it which I wasn't expecting and took some getting used to
- short ribs on a bed of polenta with green onions and peas, this was good but I have had similar at other restaurants around town

For dessert we chose to share the sour cherry panna cotta which had a wonderful texture and the cherries were a perfect mix of sweet and sour.

There is a large drink/wine list which seemed to be reasonably priced. We shared an excellent bottle of wine.

We were placed at the bar and although I normally love this vantage point I thought we should have been given the option of sitting at a regular table as I had made the reservation a week in advance of our dinner. The main problem with the seating was that we were right across from the open kitchen, meaning we were basically the bar depth away from the open flames of the cooktop (they were really hustling making plate after plate for the over two hours we were there). This combined with the very humid weather outside made it really hot. With the 3 story ceilings the air conditioning could not keep up. By the end of the meal it was quite uncomfortable. Unfortunately this has perhaps tainted my review unreasonably but I believe that the restaurant experience is about more than just the food.

I will probably be back but will wait for cooler temperatures outside.